Colonial Management of Iranian Kurdistan; with Emphasis on Water Resources




Water Resources, Development, Iranian Kurdistan, Resources, Internal colonialism


Iranian Kurdistan (a region referred to by the Kurds as Rojhelat/East Kurdistan), which possesses a large variety of minerals, oil reserves, dense forests, and massive surface and underground water resources, has for decades supplied the economic, agricultural, and industrial sectors in Iran, mainly benefiting the development of the central parts of the country and bringing significant income to the state. This has occurred while the Kurdish region remains among the most economically underdeveloped and deprived areas of Iran. The Iranian state’s economic and developmental approach to Kurdistan’s natural resources, and the mechanisms of extractions and exploitation of these resources, have resulted in extensive environmental degradation, affecting the public health in the Kurdish region, and not least de-development and further underdevelopment in this region. Taking into account the extent of extraction and use of Kurdistan’s natural resources reveals the Kurdish-state relation as an internal core-peripheral relationship, resulting in the centre’s destruction of the natural environment and exploitation of the natural resources of the periphery. This paper sheds light on the Iranian state’s economic and developmental activities, with a focus on water resources in the Kurdish region and the consequences of their use on the natural environment.

Author Biographies

Allan Hassaniyan, University of Exeter

Allan Hassaniyan is Lecturer in Middle East Studies, College of Social Science and International Studies, University of Exeter. Allan’s research focuses on Kurdish politics and society, and environmental and ecological movements and trends in Kurdistan.

Mansour Sohrabi, Independent Researcher

Mansour Sohrabi is currently an independent researcher. Formerly, Mansour’s was a Researcher in the Department of Landscape Ecology, at the Institute for Natural Resource Conservation, Kiel, Germany. Manosur’s research focuses on ecology, environment and water resources.


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How to Cite

Hassaniyan, A., & Sohrabi, M. (2022). Colonial Management of Iranian Kurdistan; with Emphasis on Water Resources. Journal of World-Systems Research, 28(2), 320–343.